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John Hays Hammond Sr. papers

Call Number: MS 259

Scope and Contents

The papers of mining engineer John Hays Hammond (1855-1936) include correspondence, letter books, and printed material (1893-1936) concerning the economic development of South Africa and the Jameson Raid, and articles and speeches (1893-1934).

Hammond's experiences, related in vivid detail in his two-volume autobiography published in 1935, were dramatic and adventurous enough to inspire the writing of Richard Harding Davis' Soldiers of Fortune, which was published in 1897. Before the age of forty, Hammond had amassed a sizable fortune. His almost uncanny talent for discovering and developing a good prospect was internationally recognized, and in 1893 Barney Barnato persuaded him to manage his mining interests in South Africa. Soon after, Hammond was employed by Cecil Rhodes, whom he came to admire greatly. An early advocate of deep-level mining, Hammond was given complete charge of Rhodes' gold and diamond mines and made each undertaking a financial success. After the dismal failure of the Jameson Raid, the leaders of the Johannesburg Reform Committee, including Hammond, were arrested and subsequently sentenced to death. In the collection are many letters, and photostatic copies of the papers of Richard Olney, petitioning for his release. The bulk of the correspondence, however, pertains to business affairs of the Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa.

In 1903, Hammond became consulting engineer for the Guggenheim Exploration Company, sharing in the profits of their North American mines. After his retirement in 1907, he engaged actively in public and philanthropic affairs. Hammond (Yale, 1876) had known Taft since his student days, and although he did not accept any of the political posts offered him by the president, he delivered numerous speeches for the Republican Party. In 1911, he was appointed Special Ambassador and Representative of the President to the Coronation of George V. The peace movement attracted him; Hammond served as president of the American Society for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes in 1911 and organized the World Court League in 1915. Above all, he was interested in the education and training of young people. Largely out of his own funds, he reorganized the National League of Republican Clubs. Hammond was a professor of mechanical engineering at Yale from 1902 to 1909 and donated funds for the Hammond Metallurgical Laboratory. As vice-president of the Boys' Clubs of America, he worked to promote the founding of new clubs. His generous efforts in these and other areas are fully described in the Articles and Speeches section.

Additional Hammond material is located in the Papers of Edward M. House and Henry L. Stimson, and in the Howell Wright Collection.


  • 1893-1936


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John Hays Hammond, Jr., 1941, and Paul F. Cranefield, 1983.


The collection is arranged by type of material.


10 Linear Feet (16 boxes, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence and printed material concerning the business affairs of the Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa, the economic development of South Africa, and the Jameson Raid; together with articles and speeches (1893-1934) relating to Hammond's activities as a speechmaker in behalf of the Republican Party, organizer of the National League of Republican Clubs, special ambassador and representative of President William Howard Taft to the coronation of George V, king of Great Britain, and vice-president of the Boys' Clubs of America. Includes photostatic copies from the papers of Richard Olney, concerning Hammond's part in the Jameson Raid. Also included is a two volume set, The Autobiography of John Hays Hammond. Photographs of Hammond and his home are included in the papers.

Biographical / Historical

Born March 31, 1855, in San Francisco, California.

Died June 8, 1936, in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Father, Richard Pindell Hammond (U. S. Military Academy 1841), Major U.S. Army; chairman of police commissioners of San Francisco; collector of Port of San Francisco; president San Francisco Board of Education; son of Dr. William Hammond and Mary (Tilghman) Hammond, of Hagerstown, Maryland. Mother, Sarah Elizabeth (Hays) Hammond; daughter of Harmon and Elizabeth (Cage) Hays, of Tennessee.

Hopkins Grammar School. Select course; on Class Supper Committee Freshman year; secretary Yale Athletic Club Senior year; member The Cloister and Book Snake.

Attended Royal School of Mines, Freiberg, Germany, 1876-1879; special expert U. S. Geological Survey 1879-1880; mining expert with office in San Francisco 1881-1882; superintendent Minas Neuvas, near Sonora, Mexico, 1882-1883; consulting engineer, mining department Union Iron Works, San Francisco, 1884-1993; and Central Pacific Railway and Southern Pacific Railway; consulting engineer for Barnato Brothers in Transvaal, South Africa, April-October, 1893, for Cecil Rhodes 1894-1899, for Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa 1894-1899, British South Africa Company 1894-1899; had independent office as consulting engineer in London, England, 1896-1900; consulting engineer El Oro gold mines in Mexico 1900; general manager and consulting engineer Guggenheim Exploration Company 1903-1907; engaged in mining engineering and other purchase and promotion of mines, hydroelectric, and irrigation projects since 1907; chairman Engineers Exploration and Mining Corporation since 1933; professor of mining engineering at Yale 1902-1909; chairman United States Coal Commission 1922-1923; chairman New England Governors' Emergency Fuel Committee 1925; honorary M. A. Yale 1898 and LL. D.. 1925; D. E. Stevens Institute of Technology 1906; LL. D. St. John's College (Maryland) 1907; E. M. Colorado School of Mines 1909; Sc. D. University of Pittsburgh 1915; Eng. D. University of Pennsylvania 1928; LL. D. Colby 1936 (conferred posthumously); author: The Truth About the Jameson Raid (1918), Great American Issues (1921), The Engineer (1921), and Autobiography(1935); special representative of the President of the United States at coronation of George V of England 1911; chairman International Congress of Mines and Metallurgy at St. Louis Exposition 1904, World Court Commission 1914-1915, and department on political education, National Civic Federation, since 1908; president American Institute of Mining Engineers 1907-1908; National League of Republican Clubs 1908-1912; and California Society of New York; headed special commission of Panama-Pacific Exposition to Europe 1912; vice president Boy's Clubs of America, Inc.; since 1919; gave money for land, building, and original equipment for Hammond Metallurgical Laboratory, Yale University, 1903; established a loan fund for deserving students of the Sheffield Scientific School 1904; established Hammond Scholarship for student from Mexico 1923; member American Committee of International Chamber of Commerce; honorary member of American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (received William Lawrence Saunders Medal 1929), and American Society of Mechanical Engineers; fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Academy for the Advancement of Science.

Married January 1, 1881, in Hancock, Maryland., Natalie, daughter of James W. M. and Mary C. (Lum) Harris, of Mississippi. Children Harris, ex-'06 S.; John Hays, '10 S.; Richard Pindell, '20S.; Nathaniel Harris (died 1906); and Natalie. Mrs. Hammond died June 18, 1931.

Death due to coronary occlusion. Buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. Survived by three sons, daughter, and a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Hammond, of Gloucester, Mass.

(Taken from the Yale Obituary Record)

Guide to the John Hays Hammond, Sr. Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
July 1982
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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